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Publication numberUS6911184 B1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 10/110,223
PCT numberPCT/JP2000/007176
Publication dateJun 28, 2005
Filing dateOct 16, 2000
Priority dateOct 21, 1999
Fee statusLapsed
Also published asEP1223322A1, WO2001029387A1
Publication number10110223, 110223, PCT/2000/7176, PCT/JP/0/007176, PCT/JP/0/07176, PCT/JP/2000/007176, PCT/JP/2000/07176, PCT/JP0/007176, PCT/JP0/07176, PCT/JP0007176, PCT/JP007176, PCT/JP2000/007176, PCT/JP2000/07176, PCT/JP2000007176, PCT/JP200007176, US 6911184 B1, US 6911184B1, US-B1-6911184, US6911184 B1, US6911184B1
InventorsShinichi Matsunaga, Shuichi Kubo, Motohisa Saiki
Original AssigneeKabushiki Kaisha Toyota Chuo Kenkyusho
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst is used which exhibits a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as nitrogen dioxide with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500 degrees C; rich spiking is controlled
US 6911184 B1
Abstract
An NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst is used which exhibits a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C., and rich spiking is controlled so that an actual NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst becomes 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount.
Since the saturated NOx storage amount is large, the NOx storage amount is large even when it is 50% or less, it is possible to prolong intervals of the rich spiking. Then, since NOx storage component stores NOx preferentially into the sites which are likely to store and release NOx, a reduction efficiency is high. Therefore, while prolonging the intervals of the rich spiking and sustaining an effect of mileage improvement, it is possible to improve the reduction efficiency of NOx.
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Claims(10)
1. An exhaust gas purifying apparatus used for an internal combustion engine, which can select an operation at a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio and an operation at a fuel-stoichiometric or rich air-fuel ratio, and which apparatus comprises:
an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst disposed in an exhaust gas flow passage and exhibiting a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C.;
NOx storage amount estimating means for estimating an actual NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst;
air-fuel ratio adjusting means for adjusting an exhaust gas atmosphere to reduction components lean or reduction components rich; and
a controlling device for controlling the air-fuel ratio adjusting means based on an estimated value estimated by the NOx storage amount estimating means so that the actual NOx storage amount becomes 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount.
2. The exhaust gas purifying apparatus, set forth in claim 1, characterized in that said controlling device controls said air-fuel ratio adjusting means so that the actual NOx storage amount becomes 30% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount of said NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst.
3. The exhaust gas purifying apparatus, set forth in claim 1, characterized in that said NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst comprises a support comprised of an MgO—Al2O3 composite oxide.
4. In an exhaust gas purifying process for an internal combustion engine, in which an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst including an NOx storage component is contacted with an exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine, which can select an operation at a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio and an operation at a fuel-stoichiometric or rich air-fuel ratio, thereby storing NOx contained in the exhaust gas into the NOx storage component in a reduction components lean atmosphere, and reducing NOx released from the NOx storage component by making a reduction components stoichiometric to rich atmosphere by rich spiking, the exhaust gas purifying process characterized in that:
an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst exhibiting a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C. is used, and the rich spiking is controlled so that an actual NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst becomes 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount.
5. The exhaust gas purifying process, set forth in claim 4, characterized in that the rich spiking is controlled so that the actual NOx storage amount of said NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst becomes 30% or less of the saturated NOx storage.
6. The exhaust gas purifying process, set forth in claim 4, characterized in that said NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst comprises a support comprised of an MgO—Al2O3 composite oxide.
7. The exhaust gas purifying process, set forth in claim 4, characterized in that the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst exhibits a saturated NOx storage amount of 10 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C.
8. The exhaust gas purifying process, set forth in claim 7, characterized in that the rich spiking is controlled so that the actual NOx storage amount of said NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst becomes 30% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount.
9. The exhaust gas purifying process, set forth in claim 4, characterized in that the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst exhibits a saturated NOx storage amount of 15 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C.
10. The exhaust gas purifying process, set forth in claim 9, characterized in that the rich spiking is controlled so that the actual NOx storage amount of said NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst becomes 30% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to an exhaust gas purifying apparatus and exhaust gas purifying process for an internal combustion engine, and, in particular, to an exhaust gas purifying apparatus and exhaust gas purifying process which can efficiently reduce and purify NOx while inhibiting mileage from lowering.

BACKGROUND ART

Recently, the global warming phenomenon by carbon dioxide has become an issue, and to reduce the carbon dioxide emission amount has become an assignment. In automobile as well, to reduce the carbon dioxide amount in the exhaust gas has become an assignment, and a lean-burn engine which can thinly burn a fuel in an excessive oxygen atmosphere has been developed. By this lean-burn engine, since mileage is improved, it is possible to suppress the emission amount of carbon dioxide.

By the way, in a case where harmful components in an exhaust gas from a lean-burn engine are reduced, since the exhaust gas is put in an excessive oxygen atmosphere, reduction reactions become less likely to occur, and the reduction and purification of NOx become difficult. Hence, in Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication (KOKAI) No. 5-317,652, an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst is disclosed on which an NOx storage component, being selected from the group consisting of alkali metals, alkaline-earth metals and rare-earth elements, is loaded along with a noble metal. By using this NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst and controlling an air-fuel ratio so that it becomes from a fuel-stoichiometric to rich atmosphere in a pulsating manner in the midway of a fuel-lean atmosphere, it is possible to efficiently progress the oxidation of HC and CO as well as the reduction of NOx, and accordingly it is possible to acquire high purifying performance.

Namely, an exhaust gas which is burned in a fuel-lean atmosphere becomes a reduction components lean atmosphere, in the reduction components lean atmosphere, NO in the exhaust gas is oxidized to become NOx and is stored into the NOx storage component, and accordingly the emission of NOx is suppressed. Then, when it is controlled from a fuel-stoichiometric to rich air-fuel ratio in a pulsating manner, the exhaust gas becomes from a reduction components stoichiometric to rich atmosphere. Therefore, NOx are released from the NOx storage component, and they react with the reduction components, such as HC, which exist in the exhaust gas, so that they are reduced, and accordingly the emission of NOx is suppressed. Therefore, it is possible to suppress the emission of NOx in all of the atmospheres from fuel-rich to fuel-lean.

To control an air-fuel ratio in a pulsating manner so as to become from a fuel-stoichiometric to rich atmosphere is referred to as rich spiking, and the extent of making a fuel-rich atmosphere by the rich spiking is expressed by deep or shallow. Namely, by rich spiking, making a heavy degree of fuel-rich atmosphere is referred to as “charging rich spiking deeply,” and making a light degree of fuel-stoichiometric to rich atmosphere is referred to as “charging rich spiking shallowly.” Then, in Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication (KOKAI) No. 11-107,810, and the like, there is set forth to appropriately control the extent of the rich spiking and the timing of charging it.

Then, it has been required to purify NOx, which are emitted from an engine being operated under a variety of fuel-lean conditions, by using an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst while always sustaining a purifying rate as high as 90% or more. However, in conventional NOx storage-and-reduction type catalysts, when the NOx amount, which is emitted from an engine in a unit period of time, is large, the rich spiking should be charged at intervals of from a couple of seconds to 60 seconds. However, in the excessive fuel component to be supplied as the rich spiking, there exists, in addition to an amount to be used in the reduction of NOx, an amount to be used in controlling the combustion state of an engine to a fuel-rich air-fuel ratio. Therefore, in a case where the rich spiking is charged frequently, there arises the deterioration of mileage. In particular, in a case where being driven ordinarily at a high speed, the NOx amount, which is emitted from an engine, enlarges remarkably. Therefore, in order to sustain a high NOx purifying rate, the rich spiking should be kept being charged at very short intervals of 10 seconds or less, and accordingly there is a problem in that the mileage is lowered considerably.

The present invention has been done in view of such circumstances, and its main object is to improve mileage by prolonging the intervals of the rich spiking as well as to improve the reduction-and-purification efficiency of NOx.

The characteristics of an exhaust gas purifying apparatus for an internal combustion engine, which solves the aforementioned assignments, lie in that it is used for an internal combustion engine, which can select an operation at a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio and an operation at a fuel-stoichiometric or rich air-fuel ratio and comprises: an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst disposed in an exhaust gas flow passage and exhibiting a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C.; NOx storage amount estimating means for estimating an actual NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst; air-fuel ratio adjusting means for adjusting an exhaust gas atmosphere to reduction components lean or reduction components rich; and a controlling device for controlling the air-fuel ratio adjusting means based on an estimated value estimated by the NOx storage amount estimating means so that the actual NOx storage amount becomes 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount.

Moreover, the characteristics of an exhaust gas purifying process for an internal combustion engine of the present invention lie in that, in an exhaust gas purifying process for an internal combustion engine, in which an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst including an NOx storage component is contacted with an exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine, which can select an operation at a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio and an operation at a fuel-stoichiometric or rich air-fuel ratio, thereby storing NOx contained in the exhaust gas into the NOx storage component in a reduction components lean atmosphere, and reducing NOx released from the NOx storage component by making a reduction components stoichiometric to rich atmosphere by rich spiking, an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst exhibiting a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C. is used, and in that the rich spiking is controlled so that an actual NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst becomes 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount.

The “fuel-lean air-fuel ratio” refers to an air-fuel ratio which makes an exhaust gas into an atmosphere in which oxygen exists in a concentration which exceeds an oxygen equivalent ratio required for oxidizing all of reduction components, such as CO, THC and H2. In the case of an air-fuel ratio (A/F: ratio of air to fuel by weight), the equivalent (stoichiometric) point is around 14.6, and, in the present invention, an atmosphere whose A/F exceeds 14.6 is called a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio. Moreover, the “fuel-rich air-fuel ratio” refers, contrary to the “fuel-lean air-fuel ratio,” to an air-fuel ratio which makes an exhaust gas into an atmosphere in which oxygen exists in a concentration which does not reach an oxygen equivalent ratio required for oxidizing all of the reduction components, an air-fuel ratio in which A/F does not reach 14.6 is called a fuel-rich air-fuel ratio.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an explanatory diagram for illustrating the difference of NOx storage sites resulting from the difference of saturated NOx storage amounts.

FIG. 2 is a graph for illustrating the relationship between proportions of actual NOx storage amounts with respect to saturated NOx storage amounts and NOx purifying rates in an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst which was used in Example No. 1.

FIG. 3 is a graph for illustrating the relationships between elapsing times of rich spiking and concentrations of emitted NOx.

FIG. 4 is a graph for illustrating the relationships between saturated NOx storage amounts and NOx amounts which were reduced and removed.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of an exhaust gas purifying apparatus of an example of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart for illustrating the processing contents in an exhaust gas purifying apparatus of an example of the present invention.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT INVENTION

The inventors of the present application earnestly studied first the relationships between the charging timing of the rich spiking as well as its depth and the NOx purifying performance by using an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst in order to solve the aforementioned assignments. Then, as a result, they found out that the reduction efficiency was high in a case where the rich spiking was charged in a stage before the NOx storage amount saturates, and discovered that the reduction efficiency, which resulted from the rich spiking, was the highest when the storage amount was 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount.

However, even if the rich spiking is charged when the storage amount is 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount, if the absolute amount of storable NOx is less, the purifying rate of NOx becomes low in a case where a large amount of NOx generates under the high-temperature fuel-lean condition, such as high-speed ordinary driving.

Hence, it was decided to use a catalyst which could store NOx in an amount equivalent to the saturated NOx storage amount of a conventional NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst or more thereof even if it exhibited the storage amount of 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount. The present invention has been done by such discoveries and the selection of an optimum catalyst.

Note that the “saturated NOx storage amount” refers to a total NOx amount which is stored in a catalyst, after NOx stored in the catalyst is fully reduced, between the time of beginning the introduction of NOx into the catalyst and the time when the catalyst-outlet-gas NOx concentration reaches the catalyst-inlet-gas NOx concentration. In the present invention, this value is found by converting the NOx amount stored with respect to 1 liter of the catalyst into the NO2 weight.

Namely, in the exhaust gas purifying apparatus and exhaust gas purifying process of the present invention, an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst whose saturated NOx storage amount is 5 g or more as NO2 at 500° C. is used, and the rich spiking is controlled so that the actual NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst becomes 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount. Thus, even when the frequency of the rich spiking is made equal to conventional one or longer, it is possible to reduce most of the stored NOx, and the reduction efficiency is improved greatly. Therefore, it is possible to satisfy both of the improvement of mileage and the improvement of NOx purifying rate.

Note that the upper limit value of the saturated NOx storage amount is defined by the amount of used NOx storage component, however, in a case where barium is used as an NOx storage component (2 mol as barium carbonate), 184 g with respect to 1 liter of the catalyst is the upper limit value. This is because, even when barium is loaded more than this, the effect saturates, and the activity lowers since the loaded noble metal is covered with barium.

As the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst whose saturated NOx storage amount is 5 g or more as NO2 at 500° C., as set forth in Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication (KOKAI) No. 10-249,199, it is possible to use one which is composed of a support comprising a composite oxide expressed by MgO—Al2O3, which is prepared by a sol-gel method with a magnesium salt and an aluminum alkoxide as starting materials, and at least one NOx storage component as well as a noble metal, which are loaded on the support, the NOx storage component being selected from the group consisting of alkali metals, alkaline-earth metals and rare-earth elements.

Further, it is possible to use an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst which uses a support comprising alumina particles and a composite oxide layer having a structure which is formed on at least part of the surface of the alumina particles and which is expressed by a chemical formula, MO—nAl2O3 (“M” is at least one member selected from the group consisting of alkaline-earth metals and rare-earth elements.).

Furthermore, it is possible to use an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst which uses a support comprising a first composite oxide, expressed by MgO—Al2O3, and a second composite oxide, expressed by TiO2—ZrO2.

The composite oxide, such as MgO—Al2O3, is a spinel compound, since it exhibits a higher basicity than alumina does, the NOx storage ability in a high-temperature region improves. Therefore, when such a support is used, it is possible to make an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst which exhibits a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as NO2 in the high-temperature region like 500° C.

Note that, when the saturated NOx storage amount is less than 5 g as NO2 at 500° C., the intervals between the rich spiking should be shortened in order to keep using so as to be the NOx storage amount of 50% or less. In this case, since, among the excessive fuel components which are supplied as the rich spiking, the amount, which is used in order to control the combustion state of an engine to a fuel-rich air-fuel ratio, is increased so that the amount used for the reduction of NOx decreases, the effect of the mileage improvement is hardly revealed.

On the aforementioned support, an NOx storage component and a noble metal are loaded to form an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst. As the NOx storage component, an element is used which is selected from the group consisting of alkali metals, such as K, Na, Li and Cs, alkaline-earth metals, such as Ba, Ca, Sr and Mg, or rare-earth elements, such as La, Sc and Y. Moreover, as the noble metal, Pt, Rh, Pd, Ir, and the like, are exemplified. The loading amount of the NOx storage component can desirably fall in a range of from 0.4 to 2.0 mole in the total amount with respect to 1 liter of the support, and the loading amount of the noble metal can desirably fall in a range of from 2 to 20 g with respect to 1 liter of the support.

In the exhaust gas purifying process of the present invention, the aforementioned NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst is contacted with an exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine, which can select an operation at a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio and an operation at a fuel-stoichiometric or rich air-fuel ratio. Since the exhaust gas, which is burned with a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio, is turned into a reduction components lean atmosphere, NO in the exhaust gas is oxidized on the catalyst to turn into NOx, and is stored in the NOx storage component on the catalyst. Then, when the exhaust gas is turned into a reduction components rich atmosphere by charging the rich spiking, NOx, which have been stored in the NOx storage component, are released, and are reduced by the reduction components, such as CO and HC, in the exhaust gas.

Then, in the present invention, the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst is used whose saturated NOx storage amount is 5 g or more as NO2 at 500° C., and the rich spiking is controlled so that the actual NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst becomes 50% or less, more desirably 30% less, of the saturated NOx storage amount. Namely, the rich spiking is charged in a state that the actual NOx storage component is 2.5 g or less, more desirably 1.5 g or less. By thus charging the rich spiking in a state that does not satisfy the saturated NOx storage amount, the reduction efficiency of NOx is heightened extremely, and it is possible reduce and purify most of the stored NOx.

The reason why it is thus effected is not clear, however, it is assumed as follows. Namely, it is believed that, in the NOx storage sites of a catalyst, a variety of sites exist from sites, which are less likely to store NOx and are less likely to release them, to sites, which store NOx with ease relatively and are likely to release them. Suppose that the distribution of sites is uniform, and let us consider a case where NOx are stored in an equal amount in a catalyst “A” having a greater saturated NOx storage ability and a catalyst “B” having a less saturated NOx storage ability, respectively.

In FIG. 1, the saturated NOx storage abilities correspond to the areas of the rectangles, the rectangle having a larger area illustrates the catalyst “A” having a greater saturated NOx storage ability, and the rectangle having a smaller area illustrates the catalyst “B” having a less saturated NOx storage ability. The hatched portions having the same area show the stored NOx amount. As illustrated in FIG. 1, in the catalyst “A,” NOx are stored in sites which store NOx with ease and are likely to release them, but, in the catalyst “B,” NOx are loaded on up to sites which are less likely store NOx and are less likely to release them. In such states, when the rich spiking is charged, it is believed that the reduction efficiency is high because NOx are readily released from the catalyst “A” and are reduced, and that, on the other hand, the reduction efficiency becomes low because NOx are less likely to release from the catalyst “B.”

Moreover, since the saturated NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst is large in the present invention, even in a case where rich spiking is charged so that the NOx storage amount is 50% or less, or 30% or less, it is possible to make the intervals between the rich spiking equal to the conventional ones or longer. Therefore, it is possible to avoid the drawback of lowering mileage, from this sense as well, the timing of charging the rich spiking can preferably be carried out, although it depends on the saturated NOx storage amount, at the moment when the NOx storage amount is 50% or less, or 30% or less, or at the moment when it reaches an amount as adjacent as possible to 50%, or 30%.

The exhaust gas purifying apparatus of the present invention, which can securely carry out the aforementioned exhaust gas purifying process of the present invention, is constituted by an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst, NOx storage amount estimating means, air-fuel ratio adjusting means and a controlling device.

It is possible to use for the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst, which is the same one as used in the aforementioned exhaust gas purifying process of the present invention, and one, which exhibits a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C., is used.

The NOx storage amount estimating means is means, which estimates an actual NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst. The NOx amount, which is stored and held by the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst, is an NOx amount, which is stored in the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst in a unit period of time, and is proportional to an NOx amount, which is generated at an engine in a unit period of time. While, an NOx amount, which is generated at an engine in a unit period time, is decided by a fuel supply amount to an engine, an air-fuel ratio, an exhaust flow rate, and the like, and accordingly, when the running conditions of an engine are determined, it is possible to know an NOx amount, which is stored in the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst. Moreover, the estimation of actual NOx storage amount can be carried out by calculating from the fluctuating circumstances in the number of engine revolutions or the temperatures of exhaust gases, or it is possible to carry it out by measuring the NOx amounts in catalyst-inlet gases.

The air-fuel ratio adjusting means is means, which adjusts an exhaust gas atmosphere to reduction components lean or reduction components rich by adjusting an air-fuel ratio to fuel lean or fuel rich, and varies the atmospheres of exhaust gases by varying a fuel injection timing, a suction air amount, an inlet air pressure, a fuel supply amount, and the like.

The control device is a device, which controls, based on an estimated value estimated by the NOx storage amount estimating means, the air-fuel ratio adjusting means so that the actual NOx storage amount becomes 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount, and a computer is used for it.

To control the rich spiking so that it is charged when the NOx storage amount is 50% or less, or 30% or less, or at the moment when it reaches an amount as adjacent as possible to 50%, or 30%, it is possible to carry it out by estimating an accumulated NOx amount, which has been stored in the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst while the engine is running at a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio, with the NOx storage amount estimating means, and, when the accumulated NOx amount shows a designated value being 50% or less, or 30% less, of a saturated NOx amount for an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst, which has been known in advance, by controlling the fuel injection timing, the suction air amount and the fuel injection amount with the air-fuel ratio adjusting means so as to switch from the fuel-lean air-fuel ratio to a fuel-rich air-fuel ratio in a short period of time.

Namely, in accordance with the exhaust gas purifying process of the present invention, it is possible to efficiently reduce and purify NOx while inhibiting the mileage from lowering by prolonging the intervals between the rich spiking. Moreover, in accordance with the exhaust gas purifying apparatus of the present invention, it is possible to securely carry out the exhaust gas purifying process of the present invention.

EXAMPLES

Hereinafter, the present invention will be described in detail with reference to examples and a comparative example.

(Example No. 1)

38 parts by weight of magnesium acetate tetrahydrate, 72 parts by weight of aluminum isopropoxide (Al[OCH(CH3)2]3) and 400 parts by weight of isopropyl alcohol were mixed (Mg:Al=1:2 by molar ratio), and were refluxed at 80° C. for about 2 hours while stirring them. 60 parts by weight of ion-exchange water was dropped thereto to complete hydrolysis, were further kept being refluxed at 80° C. for 2 hours, and were thereafter cooled.

Subsequently, the solvents were removed on a water bath by using a rotary evaporator, were further dried naturally at room temperature for 24 hours, and were thereafter calcined in air at 850° C. for 5 hours, thereby obtaining a composite oxide support powder having a composition of MgO—Al2O3.

This support powder was made into a slurry, and, by using an alumina sol as a binder, a coating layer was formed on a honeycomb substrate (diameter: 103 mm and length: 150 mm), which was made from cordierite, by an ordinary method. The coating layer was formed in an amount of 240 g with respect to 1 liter of the honeycomb substrate.

Subsequently, into the honeycomb substrate with the coating layer, a diammine dinitro platinum (II) solution, which had a predetermined concentration, was impregnated in a predetermined amount, was evaporated and dried to solidify, and was thereafter calcined in air at 300° C. for 3 hours to load Pt. The loading amount of Pt was 10 g with respect to 1 liter of the honeycomb substrate.

Subsequently, into the honeycomb substrate with Pt loaded, a potassium acetate aqueous solution, which had a predetermined concentration, was impregnated in a predetermined amount, was evaporated and dried to solidify, and was thereafter calcined in air at 300° C. for 3 hours to load K. The loading amount of K was 0.0.6 mol with respect to 1 liter of the honeycomb substrate.

A saturated NOx storage amount of the resulting NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst of Example No. 1 was 17 g as NO2 at 500° C.

This NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst of Example No. 1 was installed in an exhaust system of an in-line 4-cylinder 2-L direct-injection engine, and NOx purifying rates were measured under the evaluation conditions of the number of engine revolutions: 2,000 rpm, torque: 60 Nm, and catalyst-inlet temperature: 500° C. in the following manner.

The NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst was used which was reduced completely by exposing it to an atmosphere, which was after setting the A/F of the engine, running under the aforementioned conditions, to 12, for 10 minutes. Then, the engine was operated under a fuel-lean atmosphere of A/F=20 under the aforementioned conditions, and the rich spiking of A/F=12 was charged every 5 minutes for 2 seconds. In this instance, the NOx purifying rates and NOx storage amounts after 1 minute from the charging of the rich spiking were measured. Then, the ratios of the actual NOx storage amounts with respect to the saturated NOx storage amounts were measured, and the relationship between the values and NOx purifying ratios is illustrated in FIG. 2.

From FIG. 2, it is seen that, in a case where the proportion of the actual NOx storage amount with respect to the saturated NOx storage amount was 50% or less, the NOx purifying ratio become 80% or more, and that, in a case where the proportion of the actual NOx storage amount with respect to the saturated NOx storage amount was 30% or less, the NOx purifying ratio become 90% or more. Namely, when an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst of 5 g/L is used, it is not necessary to charge the rich spiking until NOx were stored in an amount of 30% thereof, i.e., up to 1.5 g/L. Thus, it is possible to make the sufficient NOx purification and the mileage improvement compatible.

(Comparative Catalyst)

120 g of an Al2O3 powder, 120 g of a TiO2 powder, 50 g of a ZrO2 powder and 20 g of a CeO2—ZrO, powder were mixed, were made into a slurry, and, by using an alumina sol as a binder, a coating layer was formed on a honeycomb substrate (diameter: 103 mm and length: 150 mm), which was made from cordierite, by an ordinary method. The coating layer was formed in an amount of 270 g with respect to 1 liter of the honeycomb substrate.

Subsequently, into the honeycomb substrate, a barium acetate aqueous solution, which had a predetermined concentration, was impregnated in a predetermined amount, was evaporated and dried to solidify, and was thereafter calcined in air at 300° C. for 3 hours to load Ba. Thereafter, it was immersed into a solution, which included ammonium carbonate in an amount as much as 3 times of Ba, for 1 hour to turn Ba into carbonate, and it was calcined at 300° C. for 3 hours.

Subsequently, into the honeycomb substrate having the coating layer with Ba loaded, a diammine dinitro platinum (II) solution, which had a predetermined concentration, was impregnated in a predetermined amount, was evaporated and dried to solidify, and was thereafter calcined in air at 300° C. for 3 hours to load Pt. Subsequently, a rhodium nitrate aqueous solution, which had a predetermined concentration, was impregnated in a predetermined amount, was evaporated and dried to solidify, and was thereafter calcined in air at 300° C. for 3 hours to load Rh. The loading amounts of Pt and Rh were 2.0 g for Pt and 0.5 g for Rh with respect to 1 liter of the honeycomb substrate. Subsequently, a potassium acetate aqueous solution, which had a predetermined concentration, was impregnated in a predetermined amount, was evaporated and dried to solidify, and was thereafter calcined in air at 300° C. for 3 hours to load K. The loading amounts of Ba and K were 0.2 mol for Ba and 0.1 mol for K with respect to 1 liter of the honeycomb substrate.

A saturated NOx storage amount of the resulting NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst was 2 g as NO2 at 500° C. This NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst was considered a comparative catalyst.

The catalysts of Example No. 1 and the aforementioned comparative example were installed, respectively, in an exhaust system of an in-line 4-cylinder 2-L direct-injection engine, and NOx conversions were measured under the evaluation conditions of the number of engine revolutions: 2,000 rpm, torque: 60 Nm, and catalyst-inlet temperature: 500° C. in the following manner.

The catalyst of Example No. 1 and the aforementioned comparative catalyst were used which were reduced completely by treating them in a hydrogen gas flow at 500° C. for 3 hours. Then, the engine was operated under a fuel-lean atmosphere of A/F=20 under the aforementioned conditions, and the rich spiking of A/F=12 was charged for 1 second. The charging intervals of the rich spiking were put at 4 levels, 30, 60, 90 and 120 seconds, and the NOx conversions were measured in the initial rich-spiking-charging section at 10 minutes after starting the operation. The results are set forth in Table 1.

    • subsequently, in a case where the charging of the rich spiking was carried out at intervals of 90 seconds, the elapsed times of fuel-rich atmosphere and the NOx concentrations in the outlet gases at the elapsed times were measured, respectively, and the results are illustrated in FIG. 3. In FIG. 3, the NOx concentration in the inlet gases is illustrated as well.

TABLE 1
NOx Conversion (%)
Rich-Spiking Catalyst of Comparative
Interval Ex. No. 1 Catalyst
30 sec. 99.8 95.3
60 sec. 99.5 91.3
90 sec. 99.0 82.2
120 sec.  92.5 66.8

From Table 1, in the case of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst of Example No. 1, it is seen that the high NOx conversions of 90% or more were exhibited under all of the conditions. However, in the case of the comparative catalyst, when the rich spiking was charged at intervals of up to 60 seconds, the NOx conversions of 90% or more were exhibited, but, when the intervals become longer than that, the NOx conversions were lowered.

Namely, in accordance with the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst of Example No. 1, even if the intervals of the rich spiking were long, a high NOx reduction efficiency was exhibited, and it is believed that this resulted from the fact that the saturated NOx storage amount was as high as 17 g.

Moreover, from FIG. 3, it is apparent that, in the comparative catalyst, although the NOx emission concentration was lowered sharply after the rich spiking, the NOx emission concentration was increased so that the NOx reduction efficiency was lowered, on the other hand, in the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst of Example No. 1, the emission of NOx was substantially zero during the rich spiking so that the reduction efficiency was remarkably high.

(Example No. 2)

Note that a variety of NOx storage-and-reduction type catalysts, whose saturated NOx storage amounts were different, were prepared in the same manner as Example No. 1, and the NOx purifying amounts at 1 minute from the charging of the rich spiking were measured in the same manner as Example No. 1. The results are illustrated in FIG. 4. The NOx purifying amounts are expressed by weights which are converted into NO2.

Conventionally, since it has been considered that the saturated NOx storage amount and the reduction efficiency are unrelated, if such is the case, the 1-minute NOx purifying amount should be constant, as illustrated by the hatched line of FIG. 4, regardless of the saturated NOx storage amount. However, as a result of the aforementioned test, it has been evident that, as illustrated by the solid line of FIG. 4, the 1-minute NOx purifying amount is enlarged as the saturated NOx storage amount is increased.

(Example No. 3)

In FIG. 5, a construction of an exhaust gas purifying apparatus of this example is illustrated. This exhaust gas purifying apparatus is constituted by an NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst 1, which is disposed in an exhaust gas flow passage from an automobile internal combustion engine and which exhibits a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C., NOx storage amount estimating means 2for estimating an actual NOx storage amount of the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst 1, air-fuel ratio adjusting means 3 for adjusting an exhaust gas atmosphere to reduction components lean or reduction components rich by controlling an air-fuel ratio to fuel lean or fuel rich, and a controlling device 4 for controlling the air-fuel ratio adjusting means 3 based on an estimated value estimated by the NOx storage amount estimating means 2 so that the actual NOx storage amount becomes 50% or less of the saturated NOx storage amount.

The NOx storage amount estimating means 2 and controlling device 4 are constituted by a computer (ECU). Moreover, on cases where the engine operation conditions (the accelerator opening extent, the number of engine revolutions, the suction air amount, the inlet pressure, the air-fuel ratio, the fuel supply amount, and the like) are varied, the amounts of NOx, which are generated from the engine in a unit period of time, are measured actually, respectively. Then, in a RON of the ECU, the amounts of NOx, which are stored in the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst 1 in a unit period of time, are saved as a form of a numerical map in which the engine loads (fuel injection amounts) and the number of engine revolutions are used.

Moreover, the air-fuel ratio adjusting means 3 is mainly composed of a fuel injection device, and varies the exhaust gas atmosphere by varying the fuel injection timing, the suction air amount, the inlet pressure, the fuel supply amount, and so on, with the control device 4.

Hereinafter, the operation of the exhaust gas purifying a apparatus of this example will be described with reference to the flow chart illustrated in FIG. 6.

First, at step 10, the engine is operated with a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio. At step 11, the ECU calculates at every predetermined time an NOx amount (Nt), which is stored in the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst 1 in a unit period of time, from the engine load (fuel injection amount) and the number of engine revolutions by using the map in the ROM. Then, at step 12, an NOx counter “N” is increased by this NOx storage amount “Nt.” Thus, a value of the NOx counter “N” comes to always specify an amount of NOx which are stored in the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst 1.

Then, the ECU does not do anything, at step 13, in a case where the value of the aforementioned NOx counter “N” does not exceed a set value “S,” which has been set in advance, and accordingly the fuel-lean air-fuel ratio operation is maintained. Then, at step 13, in a case where the value of the aforementioned NOx counter “N” is increased to the set value “S,” which has been set in advance, or more, at step 14, the air-fuel ratio adjusting means 3 is controlled to switch to a fuel-rich air-fuel ratio operation so that the exhaust gas atmosphere of the engine is varied to reduction components rich. This rich spiking is carried out only for a predetermined short period of time by a timer at step 15. Thus, since a reduction components-rich exhaust gas is flowed into the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst 1, NOx, which have been stored in the NOx storage-and-reduction type catalyst 1, are released so that they are reduced and purified.

Then, after the rich spiking is completed for the predetermined time, the counter “N” is reset to an initial value at step 16, and the operation returns back again to step 10 so that the air-fuel ratio adjusting means 3 is controlled to switch to a fuel-lean air-fuel ratio operation.

Therefore, it is possible to securely carry out the exhaust gas purifying process of the present invention by using the exhaust gas purifying apparatus of this example, by using such a catalyst, used in Example No. 1, etc., that exhibits a saturated NOx storage amount of 5 g or more as NO2 with respect to 1 liter of a catalyst volume at 500° C., and by setting the set value “S” to a value of 50% or less, or 30% or less, of the saturated NOx storage amount.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7473665 *Sep 17, 2004Jan 6, 2009Cataler CorporationExhaust gas-purifying catalyst system
US8146347 *Dec 8, 2005Apr 3, 2012Audi AgProcess for the control of charging and discharging of an oxygen reservoir of an exhaust gas catalytic converter
Classifications
U.S. Classification422/110, 422/108, 422/111, 60/285, 422/180, 422/177, 60/276, 60/302, 422/168, 60/301
International ClassificationB01D53/94, F01N3/08, F02D41/14, F02D41/02
Cooperative ClassificationY02T10/24, B01D53/9431, F02D41/1475, F01N3/0871, F02D2250/36, B01D53/9495, F01N3/0842, F02D41/0275, F02D2200/0806
European ClassificationF01N3/08B6D, B01D53/94F2D, F02D41/02C4D1, B01D53/94Y, F01N3/08B10, F02D41/14D5D
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Owner name: KABUSHIKI KAISHA TOYOTA CHUO KENKYUSHO, JAPAN
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